I always knew my dear friend, Jessica, was a strong woman. But, one does not understand strength until you have witnessed a woman through 29 hours of labor, 10 hours of those dilated to a 10cm, and 3 1/2 hours of pushing...
Her son and my son are best little buddies, so we had much time to talk about what she wanted from this birth versus what she had with her previous birth: She only got to push once with her first son, before the doctor told her that he was too big, wouldn't fit down the birthing canal, and recommended a cesarean section.
This time, Jessica wanted to try for an unmedicated VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean). She had prepared herself for intense labor, read up on natural birthing techniques, and had even already turned her breech-baby back to the correct position, with SpinningBabies!!
I arrived to Providence Holy Family Hospital around noon on March 3rd, thinking that baby was coming very soon! Andrea (amazing Doula of Two Roads Birth Services) had been corresponding with me all morning, telling me how transition-like contractions had set in, and that it was my time to move to the hospital.
It was a beautiful, bright day...one we had not had in, what seemed like years, here in Spokane.
Holy Family's Maternity wing is getting a much-needed, and well appreciated, face lift!
Hi there! :)
As I entered the silent room, I see my friend and her husband doing the "active-labor waltz"...
As each wave became increasingly stronger, she moaned to let out all the pain.
A gentle doula-hand helped ease the soreness of her widening hips, and an ice cold rag was placed on her neck. Andrea took over bearing the weight of mom, giving dad a small rest...he needed it for things to come.
"What a gorgeous day to have a baby...!!" I said to myself. Little did I know, I would have seen that sun go back down over the mountains, and then see it come up again on the other side...
The pain had become overwhelming and mom was exhausted...her "best friend", the anesthesiologist came.
Not only was mom exhausted, but she was very hungry! After already hours of active labor, with nothing to eat, the only thing they allowed her to have was a measly, orange popsicle. I think she ended up having at least 2 or 3 of those darn things...poor thing.
This is a peanut ball (above). It is placed in between mom's froggy-legs to help open her hips when she is unable to get up and move after an epidural or spinal block.
Although she was really unable to fully enjoy the foot rub, it was much needed after so many hours...
Just playing the waiting game...
Doctors said that Jessica's body had stopped making further progress on its own, so they decided to administer Pitocin, only one drip per 30 minutes, to see if it would help speed up her dilation process.
Well then, Mother Nature...it's a good NIGHT to have a baby...maybe?
Hours pass, and doctors think that they should give her a chance to push, as she was sitting at fully dilated for a very long time, but no real urge to push. But, she pushed...and pushed...
The nurses even busted out the very-awesome birthing bar, and Andrea carefully wrapped a sheet around it, allowing mom getting perfect leverage to push her baby down and out.
I think mom would have gone for 12 more hours, had she known the baby would have been completely okay, but she knew that a healthy mom and baby was the only thing that truly mattered...
My dear, strong friend Jessica and her husband welcomed into this World, baby Owen, at 6:39am on March 4th, 2013. He was 9 pounds 1 ounce, and 21 1/2 inches long, a very happy, healthy, chunky baby boy :)
Mom knew that the best thing you can do after a birth, whether it be vaginally or not, is to get a good strong latch, and let that first feeding happen. With Andrea's help, Owen latched on. *and never let go!!* ;)
Big brother wasn't too sure about this small human in mom's arms, but was very happy to see mom, after what had to seem like an eternity to him. Happy family, with TWO happy boys now! Congratulations you two.
It was an honor and totally awe-inspiring to witness this birth. Thank you so much for investing in me to capture the whole experience for you. It means more than the World to me!
Natalie Bee is a Birth Photographer and Doula, a mother of four wildlings, and coffee junkie. She captures the beauty of motherhood and birth through a passionate photojournalist approach.